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Accidents involving self-driving cars

May 26, 2020 in

Are self-driving automobiles the face of the future? Some people believe that driverless cars will someday be very popular. Others think that self-driving automobiles are accidents just waiting to happen.

Not long ago a self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian. Other recent accidents involving severe injuries and death have also been attributed to cars driving under an automatic mode.

When, if ever, will self-driving vehicles be generally accepted? Will a decision ever be made as to whether a self-driving car should be accepted as being safe enough to allow on the road without a driver-monitor? What should be the standard? Should a self-driving vehicle be operated at least as safely as a human-driven car? Many people feel that the standard for self-driving vehicles should even be higher than the standard for a human-operated car.

With respect to the evaluation of self-driving vehicles, questions also may arise as to which laws should govern. Should there be a single national standard to establish self-driving vehicle requirements or should each state have the right to set additional vehicle restrictions?

Interestingly, part of the evaluation for accident responsibility may be revealed from an analysis of the system itself since self-driving automobile systems have extensive monitoring. On the other hand, there may be an issue as to whether those who possess the monitoring information would fully and accurately disclose that information. There are sensors built into the system which may well produce relevant information but those who possess that sensor-produced information may be reluctant to fully disclose it.

There are often challenging issues presented to determine the proper responsibility when a self-driving vehicle is involved in an accident:

  • Should the self-driving system have been checked and evaluated more thoroughly?
  • Was there a fault in the design of the vehicle?
  • Was the self-driving system not maintained properly and if not, who should have maintained it?
  • Was there a defect in the software?
  • Was the software installed in a faulty manner?
  • Did the vehicle itself make the wrong decision?
  • Since presently there is a mandatory backup driver who is now required to sit behind the wheel in a self-driven vehicle, what is the responsibility of that backup driver? Should the driver had reacted in a timely manner to prevent the accident?
  • In a two-car accident involving a self-driving vehicle and human-driven vehicle, the conduct of the human driver must, of course, also be studied.

As we have demonstrated, accidents involving self-driving vehicles can be caused by complex factors.

All these issues must be analyzed and these questions must be resolved in order to appropriately assess accident responsibility.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a car accident involving a self-driving vehicle, we suggest that our law firm with its dedicated attorneys and staff and our experience and resources should be considered by you, if you are seeking substantial compensation for your injuries.